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Original Research

The Fun Integration Theory: Toward Sustaining Children and Adolescents Sport Participation



2015, 12, 424 – 433

http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2013-0180

Background: Children cite “fun” as the primary reason for participation in organized sport and its absence as the number-one reason for youth sport attrition. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop a theoretical framework of fun using a novel mixed-method assessment of participants in sport (FUN MAPS) via concept mapping. Methods: Youth soccer players (n = 142), coaches (n = 37), and parents (n = 57) were stratified by age, sex, and competition level and contributed their ideas through (a) qualitative brainstorming, identifying all of the things that make playing sports fun for players; (b) sorting of ideas; and (c) rating each idea on its importance, frequency, and feasibility. Results: The FUN MAPS identify the 4 fundamental tenets of fun in youth sport within 11 fun-dimensions composed of 81 specific fun-determinants, while also establishing the youth sport ethos. Conclusion: The FUN MAPS provide pictorial evidence-based blueprints for the fun integration theory (FIT), which is a multitheoretical, multidimensional, and stakeholder derived framework that can be used to maximize fun for children and adolescents to promote and sustain an active and healthy lifestyle through sport.

Keywords: concept mapping, mixed-method, physical activity, youth sport


Authors: Amanda J. Visek, Sara M. Achrati, Heather M. Mannix, Karen McDonnell, Brandonn S. Harris, Loretta DiPietro

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